An unlikely name crept into Thursday night’s Republican debate in Florida: Paul E. Tsongas, a one-time Massachusetts Democratic senator and 1992 candidate for president who passed away 15 years ago this month.
Romney, who exercised his right as a registered independent to participate in the Bay State’s ’92 Democratic primary, acknowledged years ago that he cast his ballot for Tsongas, who was vying with Bill Clinton and Jerry Brown for the right to oppose President George H.W. Bush.
Gingrich reintrodiuced the subject in an effort to draw attention to Romney’s less-than-conservative past. Romney replied: “Just a short clarification. I’ve never voted for a Democrat when there was a Republican on the ballot. And in my state of Massachusetts, you could register as an independent and go vote in which — either primary happens to be very interesting. And any chance I got to vote against Bill Clinton or Ted Kennedy, I took. And so, I have always voted for a Republican any time there was a Republican on the ballot.”